Mike Pelfrey named Opening Day starter
Right-hander will take ball for Mets on April 1 vs. Marlins
Mike Pelfrey is going to be the Mets' Opening Day starter following a season in which he went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA.
"You're darn right he is," manager Terry Collins told the New York Daily News. "He deserves it. He earned it. He should have made the All-Star team last year and right now Mike Pelfrey should be the No. 1 guy on this staff at this moment."
Pelfrey prefers to focus on his Spring Training work than his April 1 start against the Marlins in Florida.
"It makes me feel good, but there's still a lot of work to be done," Pelfrey said. "There's still a lot of time before it actually starts. I'll look forward to it, and I'll go into Spring Training getting myself ready for the first game."
Welcome wagon comes calling for Fuentes: A three-person delegation, including manager Bob Geren and general manager Billy Beane, went to free agent Brian Fuentes' home in Merced, Calif., to deliver an in-person pitch.
"It was kind of awkward. I had never done much like that before," Fuentes told the Oakland Tribune of the in-person recruiting effort. "I hadn't heard much from Oakland all offseason, and they came on strong."
"Anytime you have a guy who's used to getting the last three outs of the game pitching in the seventh or eighth inning, it's a huge bonus for your bullpen," assistant general manager David Forst said. "And there may be times he's called upon to pitch in the ninth."
Theriot to get new look at rivalry: Ryan Theriot is getting ready to see the historic Cubs-Cardinals rivalry from the St. Louis viewpoint.
"I guess it won't really be real until you get out there and put that uniform on and really play," Theriot told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "You're just excited to play for a team like this, a team that consistently challenges for a division every year. You want to be a part of that."
Wieters plans to make more noise at the plate: Catcher Matt Wieters is determined to improve his offense in 2011.
"My No. 1 job is to call a good game and get the most I can out of the pitchers," Wieters told MLB.com, "but I definitely want to help out the team a lot more [at the plate] than I did last year. I feel like I can have a better offensive year than I did last year, been working hard to make that happen."
Pavano's heart brings him back to Twins: Carl Pavano chose to stay in Minnesota where he had a 17-11 record and a 3.75 ERA over 221 innings last season.
"Obviously I had other opportunities, but at the end of the day, my heart was there," Pavano told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I'm glad we were able to work something out that I think was fair."
Butera glad to see Pavano back: Drew Butera is one of many members of the Twins who are happy to have Carl Pavano back in the fold.
"He's a big part of what we did last year, and he's a veteran leader that helps out the young guys, especially me," Butera told MLB.com. "He threw great to Joe [Mauer] too, so it's not just me that he'll be throwing to this year. But he's a great clubhouse guy, and we're very happy to have him back."
Blake could see time in outfield: New Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wants to give Casey Blake more time off this year and may occasionally use him in the outfield.
"Actually, Casey understands," Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times. "Casey is at a point in his career where he's getting older. We really feel like he may benefit from playing a hair less and get more production out of him. I know [ex-Yankees manager Buck] Showalter did it with me late. Those extra days off that I didn't necessarily want, made me better.
"We talked about that a little bit. You hear what you want to here, because he wants to play every day. You like that. But he's also realistic to a point that he knows what may be best for him. He wants to be a team guy, he wants to help the club win."
Barmes signs one-year deal with Astros: The Astros signed Clint Barmes to a one-year deal.
"I'm excited and happy with the way things turned out," Barmes told MLB.com. "I'm glad we got to an agreement before I got to Austin for the [Winter] Caravan. It seems like talking to my agent, everything went pretty well, and it was a pretty easy, pretty simple agreement. I'm extremely happy with the number we settled on."
Moreland bringing confidence into 2011: Mitch Moreland is itching to return to the diamond after finding success with the Rangers in 2010.
After being called up from Triple-A on July 29 last season, Moreland hit .255 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 47 games. The rookie was even better in the postseaso, batting .348 with one home run and seven RBIs. In the World Series, he went 6-for-13.
"It was definitely big," Moreland told MLB.com. "It was a big confidence builder. It set the mood for my offseason. I knew what I needed to do to come back and be ready to go. I went home, took a little bit of a break and got started and tried to get ready, and now I'm counting down the days."
McLouth aiming for turnaround in Atlanta: Nate McLouth spent the offseason working on his swing and his mental approach.
"Last year when I went through such a tough year, your confidence does take a hit," McLouth told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But I've done it. I've gotten my strength back, and my swing feels good this offseason. I'm as confident as ever. I'm not going to pretend like last year didn't happen, but I think I can take positives from it, and hopefully, when struggles come along, that can help me get through it."
Suppan hopeful of roster spot with Giants: The Giants signed veteran Jeff Suppan to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
"Whatever his role may be, as a starter or coming out of the 'pen, his goal is to earn a spot on the roster," agent Scott Leventhal told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think there are a lot of positives in the fact that they're the defending world champions, in the NL and a West Coast team. He's pitched very well in the NL West. I think it helped that he's going to get a good look over there."
Berkman likes what he sees with Cardinals: Lance Berkman hasn't played a single game for his new team yet, but the outfielder believes the Cardinals may be the team to beat in the National League.
"If there's a better team in the National League, I don't know who they are," Berkman told FoxSportsMidwest.com. "On paper, you talk about the Phillies, and obviously, they have a great pitching staff, but we can pitch with anybody and we can hit with anybody. We have a great team. Everybody ought to be excited because if people stay healthy and guys perform like they have in the past and like they are capable, we have as good a team as there is, not just in the National League, but in baseball.
"I feel this is a legitimate World Series contender, and I'm not just saying that. I really in my heart believe that. I'm not trying to be like Rex Ryan and put something out there and make everybody mad, but I feel like we have a great team. On paper, I think you could compare us favorably to anybody."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.